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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019


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IT’S OVER TO Cologne where Noel King takes charge of Ireland for the first time.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the final day of the season. E-mail, tweet @thescore_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Germany 3-0 Ireland

Guten abend und wilkommen! It’s over to the RheinEnergieStadion where Ireland face Group C leaders Germany in their penultimate World Cup qualifier of the current campaign.

Before I go any further, I feel obliged to bring you news of the team interim boss Noel King has chosen to send out tonight. We were certain we had some idea as to who would get the nod but Kinger has left most of us scratching our heads after springing a couple of surprises.

The team is as follows: Forde, Coleman, Delaney, Kelly, Clark, Whelan, Gibson, McCarthy, Wilson, Doyle, Stokes.

Now you’ve had a couple of minutes to digest that, a couple of thoughts:

  • Robbie Keane is out after failing to shake off an ankle injury. Word is that Anthony Stokes will play in a lone striker role.
  • Damien Delaney makes his first competitive start, aged 32.
  • Marc Wilson had been moved forward into a holding midfield role.
  • Where is the width? Are Glenn Whelan and Kevin Doyle wingers?

Dunphy has just said it is the “worst Irish back four… ever”. Also, on playing Whelan and Doyle as wingers: “Not for me, baby.”

Need to brush up on tonight’s opposition before kick-off. Here’s everything you need to know about Germany.

Their team looks like this: Neuer, Lahm, Mertesacker, Boateng, Jansen, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Müller, Kroos, Schürrle, Özil.

No recognised striker picked by Jogi Löw but buckets of talent regardless.

Elswhere in Gtroup C, the Faroes and Kazakhstan are playing out a 1-1 draw with 14 minutes on the clock while Sweden take on Austria at 7.45pm.

While highly unlikely, it’s still mathematically possible for Ireland to qualify. Click here for the permutations.

Killybegs native and former Sligo Rovers full-back Seamus Coleman captaining the side for the first time on his 25th birthday.

Credit: INPHO/Donall Farmer

We’re ready to go, for what it’s worth my prediction is a 3-o win to the home side.

Next up, Johnny Logan time. The former Eurovision winner is singing the national anthems.

And we’re underway. Come on you Boys in Green!

Germany take hold of possesion from the off and probe down Ireland’s right flank. Marcell Jansen attempts a cross just off the touchline but sends it behind for a goal kick.

Germany have their first shot on goal. A patient build-up ends in the Arsenal star curling a strike wide from 20 yards. He has begun as the focal point but is dropping deep with runners getting beyond him.

Meanwhile, it has finished 1-1 between the Faroes and Kazakhstan.

Chance for Ireland. Stokes is played in from midfield and cuts inside but delays a shot. The ball is half-cleared and makes its way to Doyle who fires across goal to win a corner.

When the set-piece comes in, referee Serge Gumienny of Belgium signals a German free for pushing.

David Forde catches confidently from a corner taken by Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos.

GOAL! Germany 1-0 Ireland (Sami Khedira)

Ireland are a goal down. Stokes does well initially but plays a stray pass in midfield and Philipp Lahm picks up possession. The German captain plays Sami Khedira who tries a speculative effort which deflects off Ciaran Clark and past Forde. Disappointing.

20 minutes gone and Germany are comfortably stroking the ball from left to right. Schweinsteiger attempts to clip a ball over the top but it’s just a little over-hit.

Ireland are disciplined in their closing down but haven’t been able to string a couple of passes together yet and aren’t looking adventurous in anyway.

Lahm crosses to the back post where Schurrle jumps and protests that he has been pushed by Glenn Whelan. No penalty.

James McCarthy gets a rare chance to burst forward at pace but Khedira is on hand to sweep up with a timely tackle.

In Stockholm, Austria have gone 1-0 up through Martin Harnik on 29 minutes.

Super tackle from Damien Delaney to prevent Schurrle from letting fly.

Germany keep the ball for what feels like an age and after a lengthy spell, the always-available Lahm crosses to Schurrle whose header forces Forde into a fine save.

The visitors then break but Stokes is judged offside when he looks borderline.

An even better stop by Forde has just denied Thomas Müller a goal. The Bayern Munich player cuts inside onto his left, exchanges a one-two with Özil and sends a shot towards the top corner where Forde gets a fingertip to push it over.

Schurrle goes roaming down the left and cuts the ball across the edge of the box to Müller but Forde smothers the shot routinely.

Ciaran Clark then gifts Schweinsteiger the chance to shoot with a less than convincing clearance but he can’t capitalise.

Half-time: Germany 1-0 Ireland

On the stroke of half-time, Ireland have a great opportunity to equalise. Gibson plays a short free-kick to Whelan, who crosses to the back post. Clark connects with the header and it comes back off the crossbar where Stokes should score but swipes and misses with an attempted volley.

Noel King and Ruud Dokter watch on. Credit: INPHO/Donall Farmer

Dunphy at half-time: “He (King) makes Trapattoni look like Pep Guardiola”.

The players are back out on the pitch and we’re just waiting for one of the nets to be fixed before the restart. No changes on either side.

Can we nick something here? It doesn’t look likely but we live in hope.

Ooh, that wasn’t far away. Doyle heads a ball down to Stokes and he strikes the ball well but sees a shot flash just wide of Neuer’s post.

Then Stokes receives a pass out left and a cross-come-shot has to be tipped over. The corner is sent in and falls to McCarthy on the edge of the box, who blasts over.

Encouraging couple of minutes.

Stokes is getting all the chances but he has wasted that one. Glenn Whelan picks the Celtic man out with a super pass and Neuer rushes out from his goal only to miss the ball.

Instead of looking up, however, Stokes chooses the spectacular by shooting from the left touchline with his weaker foot. The execution is way off and the ball sails into the stands.

Germany looking dangerous again and Kelly has to volley away a Scheweinsteiger effort.

Schurrle shoots just wide then the goalscorer Khedira picks up the first yellow card of the game, which means he is suspended for their final game with Sweden.

Speaking of the Swedes, it’s now 1-1 between them and Austria.

GOAL! Germany 2-0 Ireland (Andre Schurrle)

And there’s a second. All the Irish defence except Stephen Kelly step up and Kroos’ little through-ball finds Schurrle. The Chelsea attacker swivels and scores his 8th senior international goal.

Müller had just outside the post but is blown up for offside anyway. It’s frustrating how this second half has gone after a bright start.

Goal number two:

YouTube credit: ReplayGoalHD

Schurrle switches to Müller and he stretches to hit the volley but Forde makes himself big to deny Germany a third.

One rare sight of Ireland passing the ball  from back to front ends in Neuer saving from Stokes and a clearance off the line. Our best passage of play all night.

Down the other end, Delaney does brilliantly to  block from Özil.

Kroos calls Forde into action again but the Galway native is equal to it.

No signs of any substitutions coming with 12 minutes plus additional time left.

While Kinger holds back, Germany are about to bring on their only striker Max Kruse. Never heard of him? Right this way.

For the umpteenth time, it’s Forde to the rescue to save from Khedira, who is immediately withdrawn for Kruse.

From quite a distance out, Jerome Boateng rifles one at goal but clips the top of the crossbar.

Change: Schurrle off, Götze on.

Zlatan has made it 2-1 to Sweden in the other game.

Stokes caps off a frustrating night by shooting straight at Neuer from a narrow angle after a good run from Coleman.

From the resulting corner, Clark heads on target but it’s well-saved.

GOAL! Germany 3-0 Ireland (Mesut Özil)

Germany break and Özil scores the goal his performance deserves wit a delicate chip over Forde. And that’s all she wrote.

Full-time: Germany 3-0  Ireland

Tentavive and full of nerves in the first half, slightly better in the second having created a couple of real chances, Ireland are outclassed by a far superior team  mathematically have no chance of qualifying for next year’s World Cup. Germany are definitely through and will be in the shake-up no doubt.

The third goal. Several Ireland players looking extremely tired here and it’s surprising that changes weren’t made by King:

YouTube credit: ReplayGoalHD

We’ll have loads of reaction and post-match bits but as far as this liveblog is concerned, that’s my lot. Thanks for joining me as always.

About the author:

Ben Blake